D&D has always involved a roll to hit - and tradition has always placed the success of such a roll at somewhere close to 50% percent - perhaps approaching the 75% mark for characters who were especially focused on combat.
With the newer rules and focus on special abilities and state-effects during combat, getting those blows to land has become of paramount importance. Yet, the balance point of the to-hit roll has stayed stagnant. Players still have roughly a 50% chance to hit every level, for every attack.
Forgive the comparison, but consider World of Warcraft. At any level in the game - missing is rare, and you can basically assume that when you use an ability, you hit. You hope for a critical and when it happens its a thrill, but rarely if ever do you miss. Because of that, even when you're in a glut of bad luck, you're not likely to be totally ineffective.
With 4e moving in a similar direction of power-based, high energy, high tempo combat - I have to wonder: why not convert to a similar model?
Why have players hoping for a hit and fearing a miss? In dice/gambling games, the hope is for a big win (critical), and the chance of failure is apparently diminished. Players salivate over the effects of the critical, but can 'settle' for the hit. A miss is a crushing blow, but happens so infrequently as not to discourage the player from continuing.
What would happen if the following changes occurred? :
* You no longer add a flat 10 to defenses. You instead add 3. An untrained character attacking an unarmored object has a 15% chance of missing - which sounds about right.
* For every 10 by which you beat the Defense, you add an extra 1d6 damage.
* Hit points increase accordingly. Probably by a factor of 2, give or take.
* Some powers need changed. Reaping strike suddenly becomes useless, for instance.
The result might very well be much more consistent game-play, with much less disappointed players.
Anyone want to do a trial run of this over maptool sometime?